Rolfer, Dancer, Teacher

Week 6 down. Almost done with my assisting a Unit 3 Rolfing® training for the first time. Getting deeper into closure territory, final touches, parties, and getting in as much hiking and dancing as I can. It’s also the final week I have a car rented meaning I’m enjoying that freedom as much as I can before I go back to hoofing it, busing it, or bumming a ride for the final week.

Day 36 – September 19

uc516_day_36_movement_3Monday came bright and early with a promise of the final movement session for the 13 series clients. This puts us firmly into the territory where both clients are past the core sessions and moving into integration and closure. As a big proponent of movement it’s been nice watching the students shift from sort of loose understanding of how to build a movement session to a much more confident assessment and directing of the sessions with their clients. This was also Ray McCall’s last day in class assessing Neal who passed the test just fine.

I went for my own movement at the end of the day with a trip to Kakes Studios for dancing. Definitely a more tired day than it has been at times, but good to be out all the same and a little bittersweet knowing I’ve only got a few weeks left to get out dancing and connecting with the Boulder Swing folks.

 

Day 37 – September 20

uc516_day_37_element_bistroToday was my final session with my demo client for the 10 series. It finished up in lovely fashion and I’m really happy with the work I did. That said, it’s also a little bittersweet finishing up with someone who’s been really fun to work with and a great reciprocal learning relationship for my first assist. It’s also going to be curious as I will be starting Thursday with a new post-10 client who I’ll see for 3 sessions. Having watched how it can be really challenging to have someone visit a student towards the end of a training I figure it will be curious to be trying to integrate a new relationship on the tail end of a long series of learning already.

After class Neal and I went out for drinks (and me for dinner since I’d skipped lunch) at Element Bistro near the Rolf Institute. We sat out on the rooftop bar overlooking the start of the mountains and it’s really good to have someone like Neal to work with and be able to check in throughout the course making sure we’re both on track and holding it together.

 

Day 38 – September 21

Photo taking broke down today. I’m actually a bit surprised that I made it this far without a miss but today happened to be the day for it. Today actually turned out to be a bit of a wiped day for me. A good one for the students as they took their 13-series clients into session 8. I actually don’t have a good recollection of this day other than remembering that I had really intended to go to a dance at the Arvada Tavern but ended up just crashing out early instead.

 

Day 39 – September 22

uc516_day_39_barefoot_jazzToday I met my post-10 series client for the first time. I was still dragging pretty badly from the day before and feeling like I wasn’t going to do very well working with her in the morning. By the time she came in and we got to work though I had found my groove again inside of about 15 minutes. It was particularly nice to feel less constrained to the 10-series and a bit more free to work as needed. I do of course still love the 10-series for what it is, but in the teaching context there’s a certain feeling of pressure to do work in a specific context. Getting back to working with an already Rolfed body was a nice change and I think the session came together really well. For their post-10 series work, most of the students are working on each other which also adds a nice looser vibe to the room at the end of the day.

For dancing that night I met a couple of Balboa folks at Waterloo in Louisville. Jeremy Mohney was playing again, we had some great conversations about dance and teaching, and I made plans to go hiking in the morning with one of the dancers. Towards the end I noticed that Jeremy was playing barefoot and being a proponent of minimalist footwear, I figured that would make a good picture for the day.

 

Day 40 – September 23

uc516_day_40_ribs_n_brisketI woke up this morning to a text from my intended hiking buddy saying she hadn’t been able to get to bed until after 3am and would be in no shape to go hiking that morning. Not to be deterred, I set out for breakfast followed by a short but satisfying hike up and down the Dakota Ridge trail at Sanitas Valley.

Following the hike I headed over to a Texas BBQ joint I had been meaning to check out called Wayne’s Smoke Shack. Because they are only open for lunch 5 days a week until they sell out, it had been a bit challenging to find time to get there, but it was well worth it. Easily the best brisket and ribs I’ve had here and some of the best crust I’ve had on barbecue in most places.

After Wayne’s I took a trip out to the Celestial Seasonings tea factory for a tour and to pick up some Nutcracker Suite tea for a client and for the office. Being a seasonal holiday tea it’s hard to find other times and seemed to be the office favorite, so that and about a half dozen other teas are coming home with me. In addition I’d say the mint room, while delicious smelling, was also rather burny just to stand around and the tea-dusted cement floor seemed like one of he slickest potential dance surfaces I’ve been on my whole trip.

I followed up the tea tour with a trip to visit Redstone Meadery in Boulder where I just happened to luck into arriving shortly before their factory tour started as well. It’s an operation that looked fairly small but delivered big on flavor and a lot of nice varieties of mead. I finished the tour and tasting and snagged a few bottles to take home, then headed home for a bit of a nap before heading over to a dancer friend’s house to practice Balboa and talk about our pets.

Day 41 – September 24

uc516_day_41_partySaturday morning I had intended on hiking up Lion’s Lair trail on the west side of Mount Sanitas with some friends, but due to a miscommunication it didn’t work out, so we decided to punt and go Sunday instead. Not to be put off getting some outdoor time in, I took another spin around Sanitas Valley and Dakota Ridge solo then headed over for round 2 lunch at Wayne’s Smoke Shack this time going for chicken, sausage, and peach cobbler. Then I grabbed a couple pounds of brisket to go and headed up to Neal’s for a class party.

Neal turns out to be quite a gardener so we spent an hour or so harvesting, cleaning, chopping, and roasting veggies, grilling steaks, and drinking beer with the class. The “Happy Rolfing” cake pictured above was also delicious and accompanied by grilled peaches for dessert. Three of the students plus myself had signed up for a movement session with Heather Starsong at 7 so the party wound up in the early afternoon and we headed back down to Boulder.

The session with Heather was wonderful and again I was struck by what it’s like observing someone who’s been doing something for something like 40 years now. I hung back a bit and let Heather focus mostly on the students, who need to have done a certain number of movement sessions to graduate the Rolfing training, but still got a lot out of watching her work. There were also some emotional moments towards the end which made me glad to see the students getting some exposure to the power of the Rolf Movement work.

Following this I headed over to Caffe Sole for the tail end of a jazz group and some dancing. I only caught the last 40 minutes or so, but got a few really nice dances in and the followed a couple of close dance friends over to Oak at fourteenth on the Pearl Street Mall for a few cocktails. The drinks were absolutely delicious and sitting at the bar for an hour or so just talking sailing, teaching, and cocktail lore with the bartender was a great way to cap off the night with someone passionate and still driven about what they do.

 

Day 42 – September 25

uc516_day_42_rattlesnake_gulch

Sunday dawned a little brighter and a little earlier than I would have liked as I got up early to talk with a friend back East who had thought we set things up for an hour later. By the time she called I was on my way to Dushanbe Teahouse to meet my 10-series client and debrief on the series plus talk about her plans to train to be a Rolfer. We had a great talk, lots of good conversation about various topics relating to her session, plans, and how to help set up her life to support her training which is the sort of thing I think will serve her really well when she does get into the program.

After tea I headed out to meet the friends for a hike up Lion’s Lair but since it was around noon by the time we got going, we decided to shift and head to Eldorado Park and hike the Rattlesnake Gulch trail instead since it was a more gradual trail and tends to be more shady during the day. It was a beautiful hike up and I thought I had taken this great photo sphere shot from the Continental Divide overlook point but it turned out to only save about half the sphere, so, sigh, but pictured above is still a pretty good straight ahead shot of the Divide.

Following some trail time I headed over to Vapor Distillery to meet one of my cousins for a few drinks the from there to The Post Brewing Co. for dinner with some friends. Some delicious upscale Southern type food and drinks ensued and I finally headed home around 9pm to clean out and return the rental car before a bit of Netflix time and then bed.

 

Week 5 of assisting my first Rolfing® training is in the books. I’m feeling my stride with the teaching, learning a lot, and finally finding some serious time to go out dancing. It seems like we’re both gathering momentum towards the end and at the same time feeling like I’m short on time to do all the enjoying of Boulder that I want to.

Day 29 – September 12

Today was the first day that Ray McCall joined the class to assess Neal as an instructor. Having watched Lael be assessed in Brazil and now Neal, it’s interesting to see the first jitters play out with people far more experienced than myself. Neal handled it well, but was clearly wound rather tight the first half of today and going into his session 6 with his client. In the afternoon he settled out and it was a pleasure having Ray in class.

uc516_day_29_kakes_studioAt the end of the day, Ray came up to me and asked who I did my movement training with. When I responded that it was predominantly Monica Caspari and Lael Keen and asked why, he said it showed in how I approached students and gave feedback and that I clearly moved from my center and expressed out through my limbs. I took that validation and compliment gladly then went out to Kakes studio for the Monday night classes and dance with Boulder Swing Dance.

Day 30 – September 13

uc516_day_30_poptart_therapyTuesday was session 8 with my 10-series client. Ray was not observing this day so I got to head into the integration sessions of the series without the extra observation. After some hemming and hawing and discussing, I ended up going with client’s desire to try radial decompression for the 8/9 part of her series. It felt like a little bit of a risk since traditionally it’s an upper and lower session, but the session ended up being helpful to have demo’d for the students, several of whom had been nudged to do radial decompression sessions in their Unit 2 despite never having seen a RD session.

The session went well but I think the extra charge around trying to determine the “right” session type to do was showing a bit in the general class energy as we moved towards the afternoon. One of the students decided to go out and get Pop-tarts which she hadn’t had in, I think she said 6+ years. So toasted pop-tart therapy was the order of the evening and towards the end of the day we got to have some good conversations around long-term challenges with the work and such.

Day 31 – September 14

uc516_day_31_irish_snugSession 7 for the Monday/Wednesday clients today. There’s nothing quite like watching a room of Rolfers pulling on gloves and putting fingers in mouths and up noses. It seemed to be a pretty significant session for Neal’s and several other clients and was a particularly interesting day to sit with and hold space for.

Feeling a little worn down I headed down to Denver after class for Balboa practice where I got to evoke some interesting imagery to help a few dancer friends with body mechanics and flow. Then went over to The Irish Snug for a few beers and dancing to Gypsy Swing Revue.

Day 32 – September 15

uc516_day_32_merc_stairsLast day of classes for the week and this time I was doing my client’s session 9 with Ray observing in addition to the class. Given that a new person would change the dynamic of the room a bit, I made sure to introduce my client to Ray outside before anything got going; all the same it was interesting watching how the extra observer affected both mine and my client’s nerves a bit. Fortunately, she and I have been building a nice sort of teamwork effort all along the way and we could lean on that a bit to keep her session moving in awesome directions (including a nice ‘wink wink’ type, “you’re doing such a great job today” comment from my client). I asked Ray for feedback afterwards and he said it was a great advanced type session but maybe to find ways to pull it back a bit if I’m going to teach further. I expect if I continue to teach that that sort of balancing act between client needs and abilities and student needs and abilities will be a long-term project.

Following class I picked up a dancer friend from Boulder and we headed down to Denver for a Harvest Moon Ball dance at The Mercury Cafe. I both love the Merc and at the same time still find myself a little intimidated dancing there. Nine years ago the Merc was the first place I’d spent more than a few days dancing outside of my home scene and the level of skill combined with the level of play there made me feel like I had no idea how to dance. I don’t run into that as much anymore, but I was reminded of that feeling and the challenges of trying to find my groove 2000 miles away from home. All in all though it was a lovely evening and I got to meet some great folks who I had never danced with before.

Day 33 – September 16

uc516_day_33_royal_archOn the advice of some dancer friends, I got up semi-early on Friday and headed out to hike up to Royal Arch. I’d been warned that it gets pretty crowded on weekends and had heard the phrase “nobody works on Friday in Boulder” the night before at the Merc so I had a little trepidation when I didn’t make it out onto the trail until past 10am. All the same, several hours, some beautiful views, and a lot of sweat later, I made it up to the Arch and a gorgeous view of Boulder below. Along the way I had some great conversations and meetings with fellow hikers including several sets of folks from North Carolina. It was another reminder of how much happier and more sociable I’ve been getting since selling my house 4 months ago.

I made it off the trail sometime around 2 and headed over to check out J&L Distilling, a place I’d heard Ray recommending to Neal in passing. What I had expected to be maybe 30 minutes to an hour of exploration turned into over 3 hours of hanging out when Jon Martine, his wife, and a friend just happened to show up and sit down next to me. Jon had taught the Anatomy lead-in week to our class the week I had been absent and will be teaching a stand-alone day next week. I had a great time hanging out and chatting with them and being introduced to some off-menu cocktail options like the Atomic Beet Down.

Day 34 – September 17

Friday night for unclear reasons turned into a night of extremely little sleep. I had intended on getting up early to hike part of Mt. Sanitas again but woke up feeling like that would be a bad idea. Instead, knowing I had two birthday parties to go to that afternoon, I spent most of the morning fitfully trying to nap and watching Netflix when that failed.

uc516_day_34_cakeThe first party, and source of today’s photo, was for my nephew who was turning 1. It was a struggle getting over there and settling in at first but once I got to talking with family for a bit it turned out to be a really lovely time. This trip has been fairly short on family time due to the constraints of not having a car at first and lots of energy just going into learning my role in the classroom so it was nice to have most of the nearby family gathered to hang out and catch up for a bit. The birthday boy was clearly enamored with the cake and I ended up staying a lot longer than expected with the evening’s finale being taking both my niece and nephew for a bunny spotting walk around the neighborhood.

From there, I briefly dropped by home to pick up my dance shoes and change then went to meet a party of dancers at License No. 1 beneath the Boulderado hotel for a joint dancer birthday celebration. A band I hadn’t heard before called Banshee Tree was playing and they were mostly fast and consistently great. There were a LOT of drunks to dodge in a very small dance space for a while but around 11:30 on their final set it started to clear down a bit and I got a really nice set of dances in with a local dancer who I’d never met before doing half-time Lindy in order to keep going to the last of the super fast songs.

Day 35 – September 18

uc516_day_35_flatirons_hikeSunday saw another hike, this time up the Flatirons trails, not too far from but significantly easier than the Royal Arch hike I had done on Friday. It was again wonderful just being out in nature, being sociable, and also getting to spend a bit of non-dance time with the dancers I’m getting to know or connect with again and who I’ll have to say goodbye to all too soon.

A few hours hiking was followed by a delicious lunch at Zoe Ma Ma and then I went home and basically crashed for about 12 hours sleep catching up from Friday night and recharging for the week ahead.

Week 4 crossed the halfway point for both students and myself with this Unit 3 Rolfing® training. What started feeling incredibly spacious and like we might be here forever is beginning to pick up steam and nearing that fever pitch where parts of the internal monologue start saying less “la-di-da, so much time” and more “oh crap, how are we going to get everything in?!”

Day 22 – September 5

uc516_day_22_music_festivalToday was Labor Day and thankfully and enjoyably a day off. This made for the final day of a nice 4-day weekend and a good chance to unwind and sort of take stock for me. I spent the morning relaxing, checking in with some dance friends, and getting some more ideas of how to get more connected with Boulder again. While it had been great to have 4 days off I also hadn’t planned a lot of activity for it and ended up feeling a bit cut off from people.

So there happened to be a Labor Day Weekend Boulder Creek Hometown Music Festival going on complete with duck floats, a Zucchini car race which looked similar to Pinewood Derbies but with Zucchini as the car basis instead of a block of wood. There was also the seal-your-self in balls for floating on the water pictured above but sadly they seemed limited to kids about 8 or younger. I tooled around the festival for a few hours then got tea at the iconic Dushanbe Tea House then happened to find my way to Press Play bar and arcade on Pearl Street. Finally I made my way to Kakes Studio at 9pm for some dancing to Jeremy Mohney.

Day 23 – September 6

uc516_day_23_smile_muralTuesday was session 6 (back line) with my client. As I had walked in to class today the mural above had caught my eye. This mural sits across from the Rolf Institute and while it spans the whole building, the “Your smile matters” part had grabbed my attention this morning. I’m not sure what to share about it other than to say that smiling has been one of those things I felt I had to force for a long time and this year has been a brilliant space of finding ways to have it start coming back naturally. Thanks to the mural for reminding me that it is a powerful and valuable thing to have back too.🙂

Day 24 – September 7

uc516_day_24_lake_runWednesday seemed to be a day with a feeling of divergence. Students had their session 4 (inner line of the leg) with one of their clients while having just finished session 6 with their other client the previous day. It had also been a week since they had seen this client and most recently had done movement sessions with them. While it doesn’t seem like much, that week break is the longest any of the clients will have gone without getting work during the course of this series. And something about the further shifting placement of sessions between the two clients helps to nudge that feeling of “this is going to be real work soon” since clients in a practice situation are rarely coming in on the same session on the same day (though it is fun when the stars align and all your sessions one day seem to have the same theme).

With the end of today I realized it’s the halfway point for me, everyone else’s halfway point having been over the weekend. I’d hoped to spend more time being active and getting in a bit better shape while I was out here but have so far felt a little sporadic about it. So as I’m getting out dancing more I also wanted to start being more active elsewhere so I took a run around the lakes by RISI after class and got this gorgeous picture of the sky reflecting off the water.

Day 25 – September 8

uc516_day_25_poop_fairyThursday morning saw me early into the office for another run around the lake which happened to include running into this delightful sign. Today was session 7 (head, neck, mouth, nose) with my demo client which is probably most often the weirdest session of the series to most people. It ended up being a great session but one where the time got away from me a little bit and I was relieved to find that my client didn’t have to start work until slightly later than usual so we had time to get her out the door without creating a problem.

After class I had a dance friend coming in for a session and got to spend an hour or so doing a more casual session not under the observation of a 10-person group. It was really nice to have that moment to just get back to working for the sake of working for a bit and to have the conversation time to catch up a bit on how the dance scene is in Colorado lately. We got dinner, had some more conversation, then headed off home.

Day 26 – September 9

uc516_day_26_denver_colleagueFriday was a class day today since we had our whole week shifted by a day on account of Labor Day. So it was a day that demanded less work from me since Neal was demoing today, but we had a lively conversation about trauma and how to work with it in the morning.

I finished up class and drove down to Denver for what was intended to be dinner with a colleague, who I’d met in Scotland, followed by going to a dance. However, due to awesome conversation and tasty foods and beverages we ended up hanging out until after midnight and I bagged on going to the dance which ended at 10:30. The photo for today is of one of his coffee table books which just seemed quirky enough to make me think it would be a good photo for today. We had some delicious food at a place called Cho 77 and then walked around the neighborhood for a bit catching up and talking about assisting and such before having a final drink in which we finished off a bottle my friend had brought back from Scotland which seemed a little poetic somehow and a great way to end the week’s work.

Day 27 – September 10

uc516_day_27_lindy_and_libationsWEEKEND TIME!!! This morning started with sleeping in followed by barely making it up in time to go meet a new dance friend and her boyfriend for brunch. Bagels from Moe’s Bagels were the order of the day and man they had a lovely home. He’s an architect who has lived in Boulder for 60+ years and designed and built several of the homes on the block, culminating in the current home which was just incredibly beautiful. It was a fun and interesting sort of reminder of what that sort of commitment to one place might allow for as I’m currently wondering how much longer I might remain in the Triangle. Following brunch we took a nice easy hike around the foothills area and then I headed home for the afternoon.

A bit of article prepping and vegging out to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell brought me dance luck in the form of a Facebook post. At about 4pm, I happened to catch a post about live music and dancing at Stem Ciders in Denver. I headed down to Denver a few hours later for some solid swing with Odessa Rose and some tasty cider. The crowd was small and a bit more social than dancy that night but the band was good and the energy picked up after the lesson at the first band break. Also ran into a dancer who was a recent transplant to Denver and spent some time talking Rolfing and moves and many other things. It continues to amaze me how much of my energy to socialize, chat people up, make small or large talk, and enjoy being in a crowd has been freeing up since I sold the house.

Day 28 – September 11

Another drive down to Denver Sunday morning, this time for a chat with my demo client. Since she’s interested in potentially training to be a Rolfer it has always been my policy to make time to talk about Rolfing training outside of the treatment room. Not that it can’t be discussed in session but there are so many nuances that could be lost if one was constantly trying to talk and receive or give a worthwhile session. So down to Denver I headed with a registration packet and a copy of one of Dr. Rolf’s books for her. It was a great talk with lots of nuance both about possible ways to go about training and about what being a Rolfer is like for me. I continue to be more excited about the possibility that she will end up becoming a Rolfer and at times it was hard not to burst out with “OMG go already, you gonna love it!!!”

uc516_day_28_snarfburgerTook my time heading home after a leisurely fancy Mexican lunch at Leña and a trip through what a colleague had described as Denver’s fanciest Goodwill. After getting home I ended up taking an extended nap that lasted from something like 3:30-7:30. I woke up hungry and decided to go for a walk to find dinner. After a few Google Maps searches I finally landed on going to Snarfburger which is an offshoot of Snarf’s, my to-date favorite sandwich shop chain in Boulder. Incidentally it appears that Snarfburger is located in the spot where Daddy Bruce’s Barbecue used to be.

I’m going to end this post waxing slightly poetic about Daddy Bruce’s. I was introduced to Daddy Bruce’s by Michael Polon in my Unit 1 training close to 9 years ago now. I was jonesing for some barbecue one lunch and asked if there were any good places. Michael sent myself and a few of my classmates down to Daddy Bruce’s which, oddly enough, was right next door to the campus of Naropa, the Buddhist university in Boulder. It was about as bare bones of a barbecue shack as I’ve ever been in but it felt like a breath of fresh air walking in for me. There was basically just room for take away or there may have been 2-3 tables. Everything was served in Styrofoam take out trays with piles of meat, a side or two, and a generic store bought sandwich cookie for dessert. The beef ribs were pretty hefty caveman style eating and downright delicious. The older black gentleman running the joint, who I can only assume was Daddy Bruce, appeared to run the entire operation by hand including doing all of the calculations for order pricing by hand on a sheet of paper. It was one of those places that somehow just etched itself in your memory and felt like you were stepping into something just rustically authentic and unfettered by the dressing up that so often accompanies barbecue restaurants nowadays and it gave me a taste of home in my first training when I was deeply in need of one. It’s a place I expect to miss just a little bit for many years to come if not every time I come to Boulder for the rest of my life.

Week 3 of this Unit 3 basic Rolfing® training has begun to feel like something of a different animal. We’re getting into the core/deep sessions of the series, students are starting to settle and hit their stride with their clients, and overall the momentum of the class feels more stable and up-and-running. The 4 weeks we still have to go feels at once very distant and almost an inevitable conclusion rushing towards us.

Day 15 – August 29

UC516_Day_15_Jeep_RenegadeFirst day getting to drive into class instead of taking the bus. While I had arranged to rent a compact car, the rental agency saw fit to upgrade me after a 5 hour extra wait to get a vehicle at all. So for the upcoming month I had a Jeep Renegade to drive around town. First day or two driving it were a little nervous being that I’m unused to the shape of it; but at the same time it seems like another potential step forward in terms of getting used to standing in the full width of my body (something I’ve been working with for the past few years ever since John Martine’s Neural 2 class).

Today was Neal’s demo client day so I mostly got to sit back and observe with interjections of ideas when necessary. Continuing to get more comfortable with observing student sessions and adding input at appropriate times and such. There’s definitely an art to this that I expect will take some time to fully embody. That said, 12 years of teaching dance is definitely serving me pretty well in terms of feeling semi-comfortable jumping into it.

Day 16 – August 30

UC516_Day_16_PhoSession 4 demo day for me today. Session 4 remains a curiosity for me in terms of trust. For those of you not familiar, session 4 in the Rolfing 10-series works the muscles of the inner leg and thigh up to the pelvic floor and hips. It’s the first time in the series that you start really digging into territory that many people have never had touched therapeutically and it still amazes me sometimes how clients will trust me to work in odd areas after having only known me for a few hours of direct contact.

I’d spent a decent portion of the weekend mulling over and mapping out some various options for the session then ended up discarding more than half of those ideas mid-session. Session went great and as I’m continuing to settle into my side of the work I think my client and the students are getting better info and better results.

On the challenging side, I feel like my days seem to just be show up to class, do class things, get dinner, go to bed. I expect it to keep shifting as we go, but I’m hoping to start finding more of a social life here again soon so I can feel like there’s more to this trip than just work and survive. I’m also being patient with this evolution, letting it come, and keeping in mind how much change has gone down for me already this year.

Day 17 – August 31

Today was a fun and chill day. It was 2nd Movement session day for the clients who are doing movement work. One of my goals for the movement work was to do what we could to evoke a greater sense of play and to that end, we started off class with a John Cleese video on creativity. The thought behind this video being as much to evoke play in the day’s sessions as to suggest ways of staying open to grown and creation in the Movement work longer term so the Movement ideas continue to grow and evolve rather than becoming stuck in rote memorization.

Today felt like a good reminder about patience with growth. Planting ideas like creativity and play are these long-term sort of projects that require one to plant seeds, then sit back and not meddle too much while students work it out for themselves. Taking this as a good reminder too to be patient with some of my own growth aspects that are bubbling up this week.

Day 18 – September 1

UC516_Day_18_SunsetAnother grey day for my session 5 with my client. Got into some really rich territory and I’m feeling very grateful for having a client who’s down for the whole multi-faceted journey of the 10-series. It’s interesting to find myself leading someone else through some of the changes I went through as a Rolfer® and sort of evoking the idea that to help others as fully as possible you also get to be open to the work changing you as a practitioner as well.

Today marked our heading into a 4 day Labor Day weekend which I’m both looking forward to and have a bit of trepidation about. Lack of social time so far is starting to wear on me a little bit and although I am planning to hit up a dance in Boulder on Monday, I’m unsure how I’ll work through the extended downtime.

Day 19 – September 2

UC516_Day_19_Sunny_SkyNot a great deal to report for this Friday. I was riding pretty high off of doing two really fun demo sessions and feeling like we had some solid rapport going with the students. I sort of semi-snoozed through part of the day then took myself out to see Don’t Think Twice at the local movie theater. It was a good if entirely chill day to the extent that this is basically the only photo I took that day and wasn’t really even thinking about documenting for the day.

Day 20 – September 3

UC516_Day_20_Mount_SanitasSaturday morning I decided to take a hike up the trails around Mount Sanitas on the west edge of Boulder. Set off on foot from the house with about a 2 mile hike to the trail head. The last time I’d gone near Sanitas was about a year ago taking a night hike through the valley with a newly graduated Rolfer friend. We had hiked what turned out to be the very easy part of the trail which is the valley section on a nice easy slope. The summit trails turned out to be around 1350 elevation gain and then descent over about 3 miles. It was a beautiful hike and one I’m thinking might get repeated a few more times while I’m here, but definitely more intense than I was expecting.

Hiked my way back through Pearl Street Mall, got some street tacos, then napped and read for a good portion of the rest of the day.

Day 21 – September 4

UC516_Day_21_Deer_in_YardDeer in the yard across the street from where I am staying this morning. Today was a little exploration and a lot of chill time. Took a drive down the foothills to Golden, CO and Denver. Took an afternoon nap and did some reading on student papers that need to be done by Tuesday.

Week 2 of assisting is in the books. Made a lot of headway, a few energetic ups and downs but all in all feeling pretty damn successful and building a lot of momentum. Ending it up with a quiet weekend in Lafayette and getting ready to throw down another great week as we get into the middle sessions in the 10-series.

Day 8 – August 22

UC516_Day_8_Coffee_Small_ThingsMonday was my first chance to watch Neal do a demo session following my not-so-great first session on Thursday. I’d spent the weekend occasionally mulling over what I could recall from past demo sessions but wasn’t coming up with much that I could say for sure. So today I finally got to get fresh eyes on a demo session with the intent to learn for myself about demoing instead of working and I picked up as much as I could, particularly on how and when the quiet spaces came into play.

My own quiet space for the day is cast in today’s picture. I was up early before class and figured I’d take a trip in early to sit at Tod’s Espresso Cafe around the corner from the Institute. Getting my first for-here order there I noticed that they use a wax pencil to mark the saucers with the order and name. It struck me as cool and a smart idea and was something I don’t think I’ve seen at any other coffee shops so far. So it was a good reminder for me about appreciating the little things and what I call “honoring the moments of brilliance” in the learning process.

Day 9 – August 23

UC516_Day_9_Straight_to_bedTuesday I finally got to redeem myself. After the 5 days between my first and second demo session, we got to get into session 2. This time I was prepared a little differently and my client and I had already discussed a few ways to alter my approach that seemed like they’d serve everybody. So a few deep breaths and dive in to the session with a focus on recovering and getting momentum going in a good direction. Thankfully, it worked!

The session went really well, the client and I started to connect better and I felt myself start to relax into the flow of the session and start drawing on my whole skill set again rather than trying to do the session I thought people wanted to see. The session felt just fundamentally better than the first round and feedback from all sides was a lot better. That said, my energy just totally tanked afterwards. Whether it was just relief or relief mixed with other stuff, I’m not sure, but I napped through lunch, struggled to keep my eyes open during the second half of class, and basically went home and straight to bed at 8pm that night.

Day 10 – August 24

UC516_Day_10_Grey_DayKind of a grey and overcast day today, really the first one since I’ve been here. Nothing particularly substantial to report for this day. I’m starting to feel comfortable in the rhythm of wake up, get to class, do class things, go home, relax and sleep, next day. I booked a car rental today for most of the remaining time I’ll be there, which feels like it should open up some new possibilities. Much as I’m enjoying class, I do find as I settle in a bit I’m starting to want for some time to do things other than just bouncing between the Rolf Institute and home.

Class definitely felt a bit lethargic today. My energy started there after sleeping about 11 hours but slowly kept perking up more and more through the day. Starting to get excited for my third session with my client and hoping to have two good sessions to set a solid trend away from the funky start.

Day 11 – August 25

Things really started coming together today.🙂 My third session with my client went great and we are starting to build some momentum not just on the educational side for the class but in terms of our rapport and playing around with some challenging movement work during the sessions which I think will greatly benefit everyone’s experience. Starting to find a bit more flow both with demonstrating and with providing input and support during the student sessions. Going through our final sessions for the week it seemed like everyone’s energy was coming up in bits and pieces and there’s more freedom of exchange in information between clients and students and teachers.

Around lunchtime during the class day, I got a message from one of the local Bal dancers letting me know there was a small thing happening at Waterloo in Louisville that night. As I was still 24 hours from having a car, I managed to bum a ride from one of the Boulder dancers and got in a few hours of dance and camaraderie with some lovely folks I haven’t seen in about a year now but hopefully will be seeing (and dancing) more of in the next 5 weeks.

Day 12 – August 26

UC516_Day_12_DoggiesTook a house-sitting gig for the weekend looking after a friend’s dogs (and chickens, and butterball cat) while she and her husband are out of town. I’d set my car pick-up to be 10:30 this morning so I could get over and have an early day, but instead they told me when I got there that I couldn’t pick it up until 4. So a few hours of napping and running errands filled my day until I was able to pick up the car and drive out to Lafayette and meet up with the pups. Nothing particularly challenging or intriguing about today, just handling stuff, getting a car (definitely a relief), and then hanging out with these two for the rest of the evening.

Day 13 – August 27

UC516_Day_13_Nice_NephewGot down to Westminster today to see my sister and my niece and nephew. After being unsurprisingly woken up early by the dogs I got breakfast, took them for a walk around the lake, then headed over to my sister’s. We hung out for a bit, took the kids to the park, flew kites, etc. and this was my first time getting to meet the younger of the two. Spent some time minding the kids (mostly watching Daniel Tiger) while my sister ran a few errands then I headed back in time to make sure the critters got fed and the chickens got put to bed for the night.

Dinner ended up being a lovely solo time at the bar at The Post Brewing Co. A few nice craft beers with a buttermilk cheddar biscuit, hot chicken, creamed cabbage, and a whoopie pie about the size of my fist. Then home to relax with the dogs and get to bed early for some much-needed rest.

Day 14 – August 28

UC516_Day_14_Sleepy_Dogs

This was pretty much my view and activity level for the day. After the dogs woke me up early, I got everyone fed then went back to sleep for a while. Took the pups for a walk then they promptly fell asleep at my feet for most of the rest of the day while I watched some movies, did some writing, etc.

This will be the start of the story of my first time assisting in a Unit 3 basic Rolfing® training. I just completed the first week of my 7 weeks here. The class actually runs for 8 but I did not come in until the second week because to do so would have given me only 2 weeks in between my trip to Scotland and the start of class. My goal for relating this training is to have one defining picture per day and a small-medium blurb on the day’s events. I’m hoping this will allow me to keep up with posting weekly both to stay in touch with friends and clients back home and also to not end up swamped three months down the road trying to relate a 7-week experience into a couple thousand words. So, here goes…

Day 0 – August 14

UC516_Day_0_Burger

Following a couple late nights of concert-going with friends, I boarded a plane from RDU at 9:30 AM and landed at DEN about 11:15 local time. Although I missed the AB bus by a hair, a friendly woman who was arriving for a flight offered me her day pass which seemed like a good little bit of luck to kick off my time here. Bussed it to Boulder, met my host, took a nap, then went out for a bit of burger therapy at Larkburger to help get landed and grounded before the training starts tomorrow.

Day 1 – August 15

UC516_Day_1_Class_SignGot up early on Day 1 of the training to meet Neal at Lucile’s down near Pearl Street Mall. Lucile’s holds a special little spot in my heart for doing grits pretty damn well so far from home. I didn’t actually find it until I was almost done with either my Unit 1 or 2 training, I can’t recall at this point.

Neal and I had a good discussion over a hearty breakfast then headed up to class. Day 1 was a lot of talking and a little bit of curious energy for me coming into a group that had already been working together for a week. I jokingly posted this photo on Facebook saying I had achieved opening band status and showed up a week late for my first rockstar move. Mentally I felt oddly at home in the classroom and started getting my footing adding in thoughts without stepping on Neal’s toes. Physically, my GI system was doing not-so-happy things, though I’m unsure whether it was something I ate or my body was more nervous than my brain was letting on.

Day 2 – August 16

UC516_Day_2_AltarOn Day 2, the class was complete. One student had been delayed returning from a wedding over the weekend and didn’t make it in until Tuesday. So we had postponed setting up the class altar until that morning. There were a lot of strong ideas and emotions fit onto this small space and Neal and I were both a bit surprised by how intense the setting up was. My contributions were my now requisite class offering of Escazu chocolate bars and the knit Eeyore that one of my classmates from Brazil had given me.

I also did my first short demo session on one of the students (neck work, mostly stuff I learned from Jan) and in the evening the students got to meet their clients for the first time with some time to chat, do intake, and make some plans.

Day 3 – August 17

UC516_Day_3_WaitingToday’s picture was taken out at a coffee shop as I waited for my client to show up for a meeting before class started. Our first session would be the next day but because she wasn’t available in the evening, I had offered to meet her for coffee in the morning to talk about the work ahead and any questions she had. I had thought about asking how she’d feel getting a photo together but honestly was so in flow talking to her that the thought didn’t even occur to me until after I’d headed to class.

Neal and the students all had their first session today and Neal and I both noted how it felt like it shifted the momentum of the class to be able to finally get to work after 2 very long feeling days of talking. And again I felt a little bit behind the group as I wouldn’t get to work with my client until tomorrow.

Day 4 – August 18

UC516_Day_4_Closing_DownHad my first client demo session today. I think so far I’d been feeling like there was a sort of beginner’s luck going with the class. Good instructor who I seem to get along with, a young but mature class all of whom seem really solid in their skills, and my demo client seemed like a great candidate for being a class model. However, that luck took a stumble on my first demo as I talked WAY more than necessary. After finishing my demo and receiving that feedback from basically everyone in class I was… a bit downtrodden, but mostly fine with it. All-in-all a recoverable mistake and it’s been a good misstep to chew on the rest of the week in terms of how I’d communicate this aspect differently to someone else doing a demo for the first time.

Student sessions in the afternoon went great and I’m getting a better sense of how to offer advice to students. It’s also clear that the ability to see a whole classroom like I can in dance is going to take a while to transfer over to the Rolfing classroom. Nonetheless I ended the first week’s class mostly happy, grateful to be there, and doubly grateful for the 3 day weekend.

Day 5 – August 19

UC516_Day_5_Jims_DoorFriday morning came earlier than I would have liked with a 10:30 (I know, boo-hoo, so early /sarcasm) appointment for a session with Jim Asher. One of my goals to make the most of this trip is to get some work from some of the master Rolfers in the Boulder area. I’d seen Jim do a demo working with a child at one of the annual meetings but otherwise had no exposure to his work. At this point I’m not going for aches and pains but for optimizing mechanics, continuing to open more freedom in my movement, and just to keep learning about the work experientially. I don’t know how to encapsulate the session well at this point other than to say it continues to amaze me how much power I find in the touch of practitioners who’ve been Rolfing longer than I’ve been alive. It both gives me something to aspire to and gives me something to be awfully patient with as I expect there’s just no substitute for time and practice to achieve those sorts of levels.

The rest of the day was filled with glorious napping.🙂

Day 6 – August 20

UC516_Day_6_Twin_LakesDay 6 took me back to the Rolf Institute for lunch with Thomas Walker, my original Unit 2 instructor. Thomas was in town to teach a workshop and sticking around through next week for a faculty meeting. While I’m not in a huge rush to assist again, I did want to get on his radar about being available down the line and we talked some shop around the new course series he’s teaching which I had taken part in last summer.

I went for a walk around the Twin Lakes near the Institute and relieved some distinct memories of walking that area in my Unit 2 when I got overloaded a time or two and had to find a way to settle my energy. I had intended to take the bus home, but for whatever reason, switched up and kept hiking the 5-6 miles back into Boulder. A quick check of the movies playing diverted me to go see Kubo and the Two Strings, then grabbed some dinner and headed home with slightly blistered feet and slightly more reddened face (I made sure to put sunscreen in my bag after I got home, oops).

Day 7 – August 21

UC516_Day_7_Pack_For_AdventureNoting that I had failed to pack a few obvious staples like a water bottle, umbrella, or any shoes that weren’t sandals, it seemed like Sunday was going to be a good day to take stock and restock. I had come out with some intention of restocking my wardrobe from the vintage stores of Boulder and Denver and it occurred to me I might as well go a step further and get some gear like a new pair of hiking boots since the pair I’d had since Boy Scouts had bit the dust a few years back. So a few errands later, I had some new gear and a pair of hiking boots on order with REI since they didn’t have my size in stock.

Following this and some chill time, I met a colleague who was in town for Thomas’ workshop down at Pearl Street Mall for dinner and some tasty beverages. A few hours of chit-chat about my assisting, her class, and some nice time walking around the mall then she hopped a bus back to Gunbarrel and I took a leisurely walk home through twilight Boulder.

In early April I attended Bruce Schonfeld‘s Structural Visceral Integration for the Low Back, Pelvis, and Abdomen class in LA on my way down to Advanced Training in Brazil. Admittedly, it was a class that I signed up for first and foremost because I needed the credits. I had been given a pass on my prerequisites for Advanced Training in Brazil and was one RISI Manipulation Credit shy of fulfilling those requirements and being able to graduate. So I’d been on the lookout for anything I could do to complete that credit between Modules 1 and 2 and Bruce’s class in LA the weekend on my way down to Brazil was a great option.

I’ve taken several of Jon Martine’s Neural Manipulation classes in the past 6 years and gotten a rudimentary feel for working with viscera from his Neural 2 class so Bruce’s class felt like a good way to further that knowledge. And around the time I signed up for the class it seemed like I started seeing a number of low back pain classes that seemed to involve a visceral component. So with that lead-up in mind I arrived in class ready to soak up any tips I could.

*Except* for the the fact that I also arrived in LA Friday morning sans my US Passport very much needed for my flight to Brazil Sunday evening…

As I had gone through TSA at the airport I realized I had forgot to put my passport in my carry-on. Thinking I had left it in my checked luggage from packing, I mostly let the thought linger calmly through my flight out to LA. Upon arrival to LA, I got my checked back, found the zipper partially open, and with no passport to be found. So, “shitshitshitshitshit”, I go ahead and get to my airbnb and spend several frantic hours calling every airport along my way, TSA, the State Department, and the Brazillian Embassy in LA all to no avail.

I remember putting my passport with my bag but not taking it back out but on the off chance I’d left it at my house which is currently totally packed up and listed for sale. After realizing nobody with a key to my house is in town I call a friend who just happens to be on the road 10 minutes away from my house. Because the house is up for sale, there’s a lockbox on the door and it turns out I’d taken the passport out and put it in a dresser drawer. With an hour or two to spare my friend is able to get the passport to FedEx and overnight it to me.

All this to say that I came in to the training pretty wound up and Bruce was cool, calm, and helpful with my flitting in and out at first making calls. And the staff at Yo San University was great and helping me make sure FedEx could make the delivery and what directions to give them. And much as it wasn’t exactly my plan to show up feeling crazy and freaked that I might not be able to make it to Brazil, I think it speaks well to a class when the instructors can roll with that, help you settle, and move along into the material.

Day 1 – Friday Evening – Assements and Feet

Day 1 started in the evening with about 4 hours of class time from 5-9. We talked a bit about what we’d be working with, introduced ourselves, etc. The class was about 1/3 Structural Integrators and 2/3 folks coming more from a craniosacral or Barral type background.

Our first work was in the vein of doing structural assessments. Something I’m pretty familiar with from the Rolfing world of standing up in front of a room full of people in one’s underwear and having them comment on what they see structurally and functionally. It’s curious to me how quickly a group assessment of a single model tends to move into “negative” territory and it can definitely be challenging and deflating to stand there while a whole group of your peers just points out everything they see off in your structure. That said, I think Bruce actually did a nice job of influencing the assessments to stay more balanced, looking for both strengths and areas for improvement.

Then it was onto working on feet, testing mobility in the myriad number of joints in the feet and simple ways to help mobilize them. I’ve had similar ideas taught in basic Rolfing training classes, but taught for beginners in a fairly protocol-oriented fashion. So it was fun and interesting to see Bruce’s take, some of the ways he made testing more efficient, more interactive, etc. Day 1 ended, I sauntered quietly home, put myself to bed, and set an overly early alarm to make sure I could eat and be back at Yo San early in case FedEx arrived before the staff did.

Day 2 – Saturday – Legs into Viscera

Day 2 began bright and early for me with an air of cautious optimism and trepidation about my passport. It arrived at the first break and I would spend pretty much the next two days repeatedly double checking that it was in my pocket or backpack. Each time, it was. In hindsight it was a good lesson about how the stories we build in moments of panic can stick with us long after the initial upset.

The work of the first half of day 2 took us into the legs, hips, and pelvic floor. One of the things Bruce often repeated through the class was “I’d rather underwhelm someone and lose them as a client than to overwhelm them and cause them harm.” Given the range of skill levels and experience from freshly minted Rolfers to 30 year veteran bodyworkers I found this to be a valuable thought as we dove into sensitive areas and heavily used muscles.

After lunch (I decided to get my obligatory In-N-Out Burger for the trip), we delved deeper into the outer layers of the visceral compartment. Bruce had a good number of videos at this point taking us through dissected territory of the structures and viscera we’d be working with. A few groans could be heard from those with more sensitive constitutions to the imagery but for me it was fascinating and great for getting a starter image of where we would be working.

For me, one of the more valuable factors for this class was the way Bruce allowed the practice time to evolve. Shorter 2 and 3 day CE classes have a tendency to be a very show-and-copy based model of education, what I call “Here’s the thing, do the thing, here’s the next thing, do the next thing, etc.” This class encouraged experimentation and treating more like we would in practice, following the tissue and working with our intuition or inspiration moreso than following a protocol. It made for a nice mix of experiences too going from trading with highly experienced practitioners to some very new bodyworkers and being able to adjust what we were doing and how we were learning accordingly.

Day 3 – Deeper into the Viscera

The final day was all visceral material in terms of new territory. More videos, more work into the abdominal space, talking about organs and their general placement and exploring ways to test and move them.

Click the Omentum Tree to see more about the anatomical Greater Omentum

Click the Omentum Tree to see more about the anatomical Greater Omentum

The anatomy portions lead to one of my revelatory moments in the class which was the existence of two anatomical structures called the greater and lesser omentums. They are a sort of pair of fatty curtains hanging off of the greater and lesser curves of the stomach that act as a part of the body’s immune system among other things. It was one of those ah-ha sort of moments realizing that this piece existed in the body helped to create an ability to feel them when working on someone. And while it could be all in my head, it did seem that two weeks later in my advanced training course I ran into an adhesion in a client that felt exactly like what I imagined to be the greater omentum and wouldn’t seem to fit with any other visceral structures that I was aware of.

Sunday seemed to be a closed for lunch day for a number of the local restaurants so I ended up at In-N-Out again, this time with a classmate which ended up being a really great conversation. I spent the afternoon noticing how some practitioners would dive into visceral space faster or slower or more or less aggressively than each other and feeling out my own preferences for these factors. At the same time, I was playing with how to receive and benefit from a range of touch instead of fighting the fact that someone I was trading with might bring a different default touch than my own.

My flight to Brazil left at 9 on Sunday, about 3 hours after the class was due to end. As we eased into the afternoon of the class, I did find myself wondering for a bit if receiving loads of visceral work before an 11 hour international flight was the best idea given the occasional tendency for visceral work to “get things moving” in the digestive and beyond departments. I had a nice integrative session at the end of the day though and then Bruce offered to give me a ride to the airport as he was picking someone up shortly after class which afforded a nice chance to talk through a few more things and put a nice sort of personal closure on the workshop for me.

Aftermath – Anatomy as my Growing Edge

I picked up a decent number of little tricks or ideas from this workshop, but my biggest take away seemed to be that anatomy knowledge is a big part of my growing edge. As I’ve added understanding both of the existence of structures, but also the wide variability of human anatomy, it seems to be a major factor in my work improving lately. As such, this class lead me pretty quickly into the idea that I wanted to take on a cadaver dissection lab next.

I’d heard about them for years since the early stages of Rolfing training and Gil Hedley was always referred to as being a great source for anatomy workshops. Bruce had referenced his dissection labs several times over as well so the next week after finishing this training, I was looking up workshops with Gil and booking a trip to St. Andrews, Scotland to study with him. In some ways, I think it might be one of the most telling things about the usefulness of Bruce’s workshop that almost everyone in class was already planning a next training to build off of the class by the end of it.

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